Coal or Bust vs Passive Aggressive

I almost didn’t go to the internet cafe in town today but my sister had been waiting for me to finish my game of mah jong with the fam so I felt obliged.

Guilt=Obligation

I am glad I did. I came across two articles in the New York Times that I thought were very interesting.

One is about the increasing use of coal for fuel in homes as a response to the increase in fossil fuel costs (the recent drop in demand for oil and commodities in general leading to the freefall in prices being more an aberration reaction to the fear of recession and depression as opposed to the the desire to conserve with an eye to the fact that the supply of resources is dwindling faster than we would like to think, but I digress) and the other a drive towards alternatives, changing the way we think about solutions to our needs with an eye to environmental impact.

Both articles touch on issues that are not dissimilar in my view though the focus and solutions are different.

There is no mistaking that many European countries are leaps and bounds ahead of North Americans when it comes to new technologies and new ideas in the area of conservation and the environment. They are older societies that exhausted their natural resources hundreds of years ago and had to learn from the oil crisis of the 70’s. They have had to do it out of necessity.

North Americans are blessed with natural resources and we have been using this abundance as a crutch. The party is not going to last forever but we have enough that we can still limp along in the delusion that we, unlike other countries will be okay for the foreseeable future. 

Countries who have abundant resources whether it be oil, coal, natural gas, forests etc are so busy exploiting what they have that they have not paid enough attention to what happens when the wells run dry. Sure, lip service is paid to the development of alternate sources of energy but the amount of money allocated to this R&D are dismal and seems to be more as a function of green washing marketing to consumers and shareholders feel warm and fuzzy at night for using their products or owning the stock.

Yes, my biases are clear but I don’t know what the solutions are. I do know, however, that no one solution will work for everyone and we can’t keep doing what we have been doing.

Our job is to keep looking, ask questions, don’t make it easy on the big corporations or the government.

On a personal level, everyone can at least do the easy things while we look for the “big” solutions. I hear people bitch and moan all the time about the easy things that we can do that don’t hurt- as much as they deserve a slap, I try to explain and show by example…

The optimistic side of me thinks they will figure it out eventually. The cynical side of my hopes they clue in before it is too late. Neither side is holding its breath.

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~ by angryegg on December 27, 2008.

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